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* The McIlvains, A Delaware Branch*

Updated September 28, 2014

I am a descendant of early colonist Andrew McIlvain who was born about 1669 in Ayrshire, Scotland, and died about 1726 in Sussex County, Delaware. He immigrated to the colonies sometime before 1719 and settled along the Delaware River. He and Robert Mickey purchased 550 acres of land in Sussex County, Delaware in 1719. This land has been passed down through the generations and approximately 248 acres of the original farm is still owned by direct descendants of Andrew McIlvain. This makes it one of the oldest farms in Delaware to be continuously owned by the same family.

I have compiled a book about my family history titled, "The McIlvains, A Delaware Branch." It includes an early Scottish history of the family by Andrew G. McIlvaine of New Jersey. The Delaware information was gathered at the Delaware State Archives and the Historical Society of Delaware Research Library. It includes maps, deeds, wills, church records, letters, occupations, burial information, Revolutionary War service, War of 1812 service, the Coat of Arms, a register report of Andrew McIlvain's descendants, some photos, and an index.

In the section below there are links to several photos and the related links section has links to other genealogy sites. The last link is the book “The McIlvains, A Delaware Branch,” which includes a register report with several generations of descendants of Andrew McIlvain.


Donald Lee McIlvain, Jr.

6767 Griffith Lake Dr.
Milford, DE 19963-3511
United States

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Family Photos

  • McIlvain Family Monument (121 KB)
    This large monument in the Lewes Presbyterian Churchyard has the names of many members of the David Mills McIlvain family inscribed on it.
  • The Coat of Arms (100 KB)
    In 1693, Quentin McIlvane, Laird of Grimmet, registered the arms along with many other families under an edict of the Lord Lyon, King at Arms, Edinburgh.
  • Lewes Presbyterian Church (83 KB)
    Was founded in 1682, and the present building was dedicated in 1832. It replaced two previous buildings on the same site, one built in 1707 and the other, a brick edifice, begun in 1727.
  • Peggy McIlvain Gravesite (76 KB)
    My father, my son, and I at the gravesite of Peggy McIlvain, deep in the woods near Lewes, Delaware.
  • James Ralph McIlvaine Elementary School (90 KB)
    This school is located in Magnolia, Delaware and is named for educator James Ralph McIlvaine.
  • Thomaston Castle (103 KB)
    An artist's rendition of Thomaston Castle as it looked in the 16th century. In Abercrombie's "Account of Thomaston", the following description appears: The ancient castle of Thomaston, beautifully situated within sight of the Firth of Clyde, opposite Ailsa Craig, was acquired by the Makilvane family by marriage. It was built for Thomas Bruce, a nephew of King Robert the Bruce, about 1315, who died soon after its completion.
  • Mary Prettyman Hazzard McIlvain (52 KB)
    1864-1937. My Great-grandmother.
  • Henry White McIlvaine Gravesite (140 KB)
    Banning Cemetery. The gravesites of Henry White McIlvaine and his wife Pheobe R. McIlvaine.
  • Cape Henlopen Lighthouse (113 KB)
    Built in 1767, one mile inland on the south side entrance to the Delaware Bay in Lewes. Badly burned during the Revolutionary War by the British. Toppled over due to erosion in 1926.
  • Thomaston Castle (today) (134 KB)
    It is pure Roman in style, built of cut sandstone, walls four feet thick, surrounded by a moat, with portcullis and drawbridge. It was of remarkable strength, as proved by the long contested fights against its walls. A portion of the corner tower is standing, open to the sky and held together by massive chains. Two fine Norman doorways, a great crudely carved fireplace, the very thick walls and the extensive foundation give some idea of the impressiveness of this fine old pile when the Makilvanes were owners. In an old statistical account, Thomaston is described as one of the great places of the countryside. It is exceedingly strong and of considerable extent.
  • David Mills McIlvain House (62 KB)
    Built in 1801. This was the site of much activity during the bombardment of Lewes on April 6, 1813, by British vessels during the War of 1812. David Mills McIlvain served as a 1st Sargeant in Captain Davis's Artillery Company during the battle and was later promoted to 2nd Lieutenant. His wife prepared food in the kitchen for the many soldiers in Lewes during the conflict.
  • McIlvain Family Burial Site (143 KB)
    Three members of the McIlvain family are buried at this burial site located in a field near Milton, Delaware.
  • Wrixhaven (120 KB)
    This home built in 1787, is located in Magnolia, Delaware. The owner, Mrs. Doris McIlvaine Frazier, is a direct descendant of the McIlvaines that founded the town of Magnolia.
  • War of 1812 Fort (89 KB)
    This an early painting of the site of the Fort where the soldiers and citizens of Lewes defended the town against the British on April 6, 1813, during the War of 1812.
  • John Smith McIlvain (40 KB)
    My 2nd Great-grandfather.
  • The McIlvain Farm (93 KB)
    This is the farm as it looks today. It is a working farm owned by Elaine McIlvaine Tobin, a direct descendant of Andrew McIlvain who purchased the land in 1719. It is one of the oldest farms in Delaware continuously owned by the same family.
  • War of 1812 Fort (86 KB)
    This an early photograph of the site of the Fort where the soldiers and citizens of Lewes defended the town against the British on April 6, 1813, during the War of 1812.
  • Donald Lee McIlvain, Jr. (81 KB)
    California Days, 1982.
  • James McIlvain Gravesite (156 KB)
    Coolspring Presbyterian Churchyard. The gravesites of James McIlvain and his wife Francis Mills McIlvain. This is the oldest McIlvain gravestone I have found.
  • McIlvaine Family Burial Plot at Banning Cemetery (172 KB)
    This cemetery is located just north of Magnolia, Delaware.
  • The Hotel Rodney (98 KB)
    The Hotel Rodney was built on the site where the Benjamin McIlvain House was located during the War of 1812. It is now the site of the U.S. Post Office.
  • The Family Photo (59 KB)
    Paige, John, Joseph, and Me.
  • War of 1812 Memorial Park (116 KB)
    These are the original cannon that fired on British ships during the bombardment of Lewes on April 6, 1813, during the War of 1812. The Benjamin McIlvain House was struck by cannonballs fired by British vessels and was located where the U.S. Post Office stands today.
  • Donald Lee McIlvain, Jr. (77 KB)
    Navy Days, 1974.
  • William Rhodes McIlvain (44 KB)
    1842-1912. Ship Builder and Designer.
  • Coolspring Presbyterian Church (85 KB)
    In his report to the Venerable Society in London in 1728, The Rev. Becket of St. Peter's Episcopal Church said, "The Presbyterians have two churchs in Sussex County, one at Coolspring and the other at Lewes." It is not improbable that a congregation may have been formed as early as 1700, for a number of Presbyterian families lived in the vicinity at that time.
  • St. Peter's Episcopal Church (71 KB)
    The present building, consecrated in 1858, was preceded by two prior structures, the first one having been begun before February 14, 1707. A congregation of the Church of England existed in Lewes prior to 1681.
  • Benjamin McIlvain Gravesite (131 KB)
    Lewes Presbyterian Churchyard. The gravesites of Benjamin McIlvain and his wife Mary McIlvain.
  • Thomas Waples McIlvaine Gravesite (208 KB)
    Banning Cemetery. The gravesites of Thomas Waples McIlvaine and his wife Nancy Waller McIlvaine.
  • Wrixham McIlvain Gravesite (157 KB)
    Coolspring Presbyterian Churchyard.
  • Winter McIlvain (43 KB)
    1861-1905. My Great-grandfather.
  • Dr. Robert A. McIlvain Gravesite (149 KB)
    St. Peter's Episcopal Churchyard. The gravesites of Dr. Robert A. McIlvain and his wife Sarah Smith McIlvain.

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